King’s Fork wins 14-inning contest

Published 10:13 pm Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Technically, the Southeastern District’s softball teams don’t stage day-night doubleheaders. In reality, however, that’s pretty much what occurred Monday when King’s Fork and visiting Deep Creek squared off under a bright sun at 5:30 p.m. More than four hours later, in darkness lit by flood lights, King’s Fork’s Lindsey Holloman pounded a double down the left field line to score Megan Blythe from second base and give the Bulldogs a 5-4 victory in 14 innings.

Not only did the contest last twice as long as a standard game, it was halted for roughly 45 minutes in the ninth inning after lightning was spotted on the horizon. It was still light out when play halted, but was dark when what would become the longest softball contest in King’s Fork’s 5-year history resumed.

“The girls were complaining about being hungry and how they wanted a half-day off from school tomorrow,” said Bulldogs’ coach Richard Froemel, whose team beat Western Branch in 10 innings last week. “But it was all good-spirited and boy, did they battle.”

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King’s Fork, which improved to 5-4 overall and 5-3 in district play, trailed 2-0 entering its half of the third inning but scored twice in the frame for a tie.

It trailed 3-2 entering the fifth but again forged a deadlock in the bottom half of that inning. And the Bulldogs were down 4-3 when they came to bat in the eighth before Haley Johnson smacked a home run over the center field fence to keep her team alive.

Deep Creek (4-6, 4-5) had runners on second and third with one out in the 14th but a strikeout and a groundout ended the Hornets’ threat.

In the bottom of the inning, King’s Fork leadoff batter Blythe reached first when Deep Creek shortstop Whitney Gray couldn’t handle a grounder after ranging far to her left. Miranda Whitley’s sacrifice bunt moved Blythe to second and Holloman drilled a Samantha Burritt pitch into the left field corner to end the game.

Holloman went 5-for-5 at the plate with two doubles, two RBIs and two walks, one of them intentional. She also went the distance as King’s Fork’s pitcher, striking out 19 batters and utilizing a devastating changeup.

“She’s special,” Froemel said of his senior hurler, who has signed to play at UNC-Charlotte. “She was throwing just as hard in the last inning as she was in the first.”